I love when my 4-year-old says something random or annoying or demanding or crazy, and I say "that could be a picture book." This happens pretty regularly, but every once in a while it really develops into something.
I expand on the idea a couple sentences, "so the princess turns into a cat who barks. Then, what happens?" 1 out of 3 times my daughter comes up with something great. The other two times the princess just eats a peanut butter-Nutellla sandwich or lets an echoing fart. (What she would do in the situation.)
|By Ramunas Geciauskas via Flickr|
Then I scribble the idea in the medium of crayon on construction paper or marker on hand...whatever is handy. A solid scrawl of an idea is about 250 words. Usually it starts with "once upon a time" or something along those lines. A thing happens. The story ends. The middle is a mushy stew of dot-dot-dots.
The first draft is a story, not a picture book.
Words are not carefully selected. There may just be one event rather than the rule of threes (link). The story is told; it doesn't unfold through action and dialogue. There is no consideration for page turns and scenes. It's just a wee little story.
A long journey awaits this idea, doubling in size and quadrupling in complexity, but it has taken an important first step just by getting written down.
I write down every idea and hoard them like a vagrant saving for a feast. I can't wait for PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) to start next week so I can add to my collection. This will be my first year, and I am an enthusiastic beginner.